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Happy Second Anniversary

Had a busy-busy last week, and didn’t get the time to log on but when I did, I was gently reminded by WordPress that I had passed my second anniversary of  of being on this blog. So this is a good time as any to take stock.

It has been an eventful year. I’d decided last year that I would do more posts about India, it’s people, it’s festivals and culture. I can’t say I’ve done a great job but I’ve tried, honestly. India is a large country, with a huge spectrum of cultures belonging to the different regions. The people are different and yet the same. The quest shall continue. I’ll have to shed some inhibitions though, because whenever I try to take pictures in a crowd or in public, I suddenly become the centre of attention. The moment the people see a woman (me)with a big camera (read DSLR) moving among them, taking pictures, they think I’m some press reporter from the local newspaper. I can almost see them going nudge-nudge, whispering, “she’s from the news paper, she’s from the news paper”. Then they try to get my attention or get me to take their pictures, the older ones will push their kids in front and beg me to take their photos. It becomes funny and embarrassing at times.

Also, somewhere during the last few months, I crossed another milestone; that of completing my 100th post. Now that may not be a big deal for most of the bloggers here but for me it was. I’d started this blog with a lot of apprehensions, not knowing how far I’ll be able to go, what I’ll write about and what I’ll share and learn. But this has been a beautiful journey so far. I’ve learnt so much about people and places, have stood corrected on so many of my preconceived notions about certain people and cultures and I’ve learnt to view the world around me with a more open mind and without being too judgemental.

And now the awards-

During the course of this year some of my fellow bloggers were really kind to bestow a few awards on me. I’d like to mention them and their blogs with a big thank you..

First it was Eva from Healthy glow Nutrition who nominated me for ‘A very Inspiring Blogger’ award.

Then again she was kind enough to nominate me for yet another award- ‘the Leibster award’.

Next was the ‘Beautiful Blogger award’  that was bestowed upon me by TKSoni from his blog ‘and life smiles

And most recently, Deb from ‘unexpectedincommonhours, nominated me for the ‘Leibster Award’

I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.

‘But why haven’t I accepted the awards?’ you may ask. Wellll! The problem lies with me. The first time I got an award, I was relatively new to blogging. I tried to accept the award, and get the picture of the award on my page but somehow managed to bungle it all up, and made a complete mess of the whole situation. After that experience I’ve developed a sort of a phobia for trying to accept the awards. Add to it another fear, of that of sharing a few things about myself, as one of the requirements for accepting most of the awards.

Now if I were a celebrity anything and everything about me would make an interesting read. My readers would be dying to know more. Maybe then I could get away with disclosures like-

I love to sleep in my pyjamas.

I got a tattoo of my ex somewhere and I’m desperately trying to find it.

I eat only grass in this extremely amazing diet that I’m following.

I love Calvin-Klein… Calvin and Hobbs…  and so on.

But sadly that’s not the case and I, for the life of me, cannot think of anything interesting enough about me that will increase the traffic to my page. So I would like to say a big thank you once again and hope that some day I’ll find the courage to accept the awards.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the people who’ve liked my posts and followed my blog. I haven’t been able to acknowledge everyone and for that I’m sorry. I shall try to rectify this slowly but surely.

Now for the coming year, I have not made any specific plans as I’ve gotten a bit busy with my job as a teacher and that takes up a lot of my time and energy, but one thing’s for sure.. I’ll still be posting, as regularly as possible. Maybe I’ll get to share some teaching anecdotes with everyone, as I’ve already realised that teaching adolescent students is one big lesson in itself.   I would also like to learn the art of taking better pictures than just ‘aim and shoot’ varieties, so cross my fingers for that.

Signing out with that. Hope to continue receiving love, appreciation and feed-backs from my readers.

Childhood: A World Of Wonder And Magic

Charles from Mostly Bright Ideas, recently did this post here. He brought so many memories of my childhood back that instead of writing a comment on his post I decided to do an entire post here.

As everyone from my generation would say, almost gloatingly, we spent more time outdoors, playing. The television reached here late (in the 80’s) so we had very little to distract us from our playing.

My most vivid memories are of my summer vacations that I spent at my grandparents’ place where all of us cousins would be together for whole two months of free vacation time on our hands. In my age group, we girls were out-numbered by the boys at 2:4, which got further skewed when their friends joined in, and we(girls)  had no option but to join them in their boys’ games. So we spent our vacations, playing marbles, gilli-danda, sitoliya, hide’n seek, flying kites and going for long bicycle rides.

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gillidanda

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sitolia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

gilli-danda

Apart from this there were many other activities that we indulged in as that particular year’s ‘flavor of the year’. We spent one vacation mastering our cycling talents, with a lot of funny mishaps thrown in, in good measure. The next was spent in gardening when we surprised ourselves by actually growing some vegetables. It was a proud moment for us.

Another one we spent trying to learn the fine art of cricket bowling. Our oldest cousin brother was struck with the cricket virus and he insisted on taking up the role of our coach. He bought a book on bowling, drew a cricket pitch on the terrace and we spent the entire vacation taking lessons on how to grip the ball for off-spin, leg-spin, googly and bouncer varieties of bowling. Had we persisted the Indian cricket team would have greatly benefited from our skills.

And the year we got toy bows and arrows and maces for gifts, we spent enacting stage plays, mostly the Ramayana or excerpts from the Mahabharata. The elders of the house would suddenly find some of their clothes(mostly sarees) missing as they were pilfered away to dress ourselves up and also to do up a makeshift stage, as a result we would be unceremoniously shooed out of the house.

I was a regular tomboy, till I went to an all girls boarding school, where in the company of other girls, I developed a few girl-like traits.  My dad and mom never stopped me from doing a particular thing just because I was a girl. I was the first girl in my group of friends to learn how to ride a bike. I still remember very clearly, every Sunday morning, my dad would hoist me up the seat of the bike that we borrowed from our neighbours. We didn’t have those cute kid bikes available back then so we used a full sized bike, as a result, my feet couldn’t reach the ground. My dad would then spend the next half hour running behind me (with short breaks) till the day I finally learnt to ride it confidently. Getting off the bike safely was a totally another thing though, that took much longer to learn.

And now when I think about it, we, as kids, played so many games. There was Hop-scotch, Statue, Four-corners, Eggs in the Basket, Kho-kho, Rope skipping, One legged catch, Dodge ball, Chain, Cut-the-cake, Help… . whew!! apart from sports like Badminton or Table-tennis. And I haven’t yet listed the indoor games we played.

Sometimes I wonder if today’s generation is really missing out on some real fun? They do play outdoors, that is, they go for the practices of  various sports and their after school hours are packed into a tight schedule of  one class after another. Does that leave room for some imaginative play? Of  creating new games out of mundane things around them. A bed-sheet, for us, would turn into a tent and we would be soldiers at the front, or a group on a picnic, or hunters in the jungle. Cardboard boxes would send our imaginations in a tizzy. There was nothing we couldn’t play with.

And I’m sure today’s kids would find our games outdated, or even boring. They would be more interested in getting that next high score on their gaming consoles. As I look around me, a kid of average 2 years can manage the basics of a tablet and play games on them. And sometimes I think that too is important because the world is getting more and more digitized even as we speak so they need to be skilled in the use of modern technology.

So I don’t know if I should be claiming, gloatingly, that we had more fun or their’s is also the good way to have a great time. Maybe all the generations have had it good in some way or the other. What do you say???

Loving Always….

I would like to share a poem written by my friend- Priya Narang. She is an ophthalmologist by profession, and I always saw her as someone very passionate about her work. I loved these few lines that she shared with us, and frankly, took me by surprise.

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A Flower-filled Day!!

This month my city- Ahmedabad- organized it’s first Flower show. The venue chosen for the show was a section of the ‘Sabarmati river-front’.  Many seasonal and exotic flowers, plants, saplings, vegetable plants, ayurvedic plants, bonsai and cactus were on display.Not just local varieties but also flowers from 12 countries were flown into Ahmedabad. Local farmers and Plant Nurseries were also encouraged to set up shop at the venue.

So last Saturday morning, armed with our cameras, we(hubby,daughter and me) landed at the show. We planned it to be a multi-pronged visit; to enjoy the beauty of the flowers, increase our knowledge of some window gardening(since we live in an apartment, that’s all the gardening we can afford to do), and buy some plants for the home.

The moment we stepped at the venue, we knew that we were going to have fun
DSC_0320cdthe’flower’ part of the set could not be taken as there was too much rush in front of it for pictures!!

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maa camera

DSCN0450my daughter engrossed in taking pictures!!!

DSCN0459The river

DSCN0478Having fun speed-boating

We returned hot and tired, but happy as we came back with some plants for the home.

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Home Green Home!!!

A Morning With The Birds

There are many things, I believe, that we did not do, when we were kids. And that wasn’t because we had any problem, or there was a lack of resources. But simply because we were unaware that such things could be done. I have been introduced to many such activities, by my daughter, much later in life. One such activity is- Bird Watching.

A few years ago, she attended a four day camp for bird watching. She came back bursting with enthusiasm and with a lot of information related to birds. She had been taught to identify birds by their plumage, their calls or any other characteristic feature. As she rattled off her newly acquired knowledge, some of her enthusiasm rubbed off on me. I started looking out for birds and along with my daughter, I have also learnt to identify a few species.  In fact, now whenever we go to any place for vacations, we are on the lookout for the avian species found in the region. We ask the local people their names and then try and identify them from a little bird book that we carry with us on all such outings. I can assure you, we look really funny, craning our necks up as we walk down the road, trying to spot that elusive bird and at the same time to avoid bumping into anyone.

And we are lucky that we have not one but two bird sanctuaries within a distance of 70kms from the city. These are two really big lakes and during winters the migratory birds arrive here from far off lands to nest. The one nearer to the city is the Thol Bird Sanctuary and the other one is the Nal-Sarovar Bird Sanctuary. We had been visiting Thol for the last couple of years so this year decided to check out Nal-Sarovar.  So last Sunday armed with our cameras, caps, sunglasses, some refreshments  we took off early and I mean, really early, in the morning to watch the birds.

It took us nearly an hour to reach there, even with no traffic. The dawn was breaking when we reached and the air was filled with the cries of the birds.DSC_0578

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DSC_0589The Sunrise

DSCN0020sunrise on the lake

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DSCN0031sea-gulls in the morning sun

DSCN0099kids selling bird-feed for the gulls

DSC_0757Purple Moorhen

DSC_0765A Cormorant

DSC_0776still searching the name so any info, let us know

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DSC_0808Large Egret

DSC_0827common cranes

DSC_0814common cranes in flight

DSC_0840Saurus Cranes- the world’s tallest flying birds- in flight

DSC_0897bay-backed shrike

We also spotted Grey Heron, Ibis,Brahminy Shelducks, Comb Ducks, Stilts, Lapwings, Common Iora, Minivets,etc. but couldn’t capture them on camera.

The morning sunrise series and the birds’ pictures have all been taken by my daughter. Seeing her enthusiasm for bird-watching we’d brought a zoom lens for her DSLR camera last year and she has made good use of it. The rest, that is, the sunrise on the lake, the gulls, the little boys, were taken by me by my small automatic Nikkon camera.

Well, pictures taken or not, its beautiful to watch these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. When they taken flight in flocks, you can only marvel at their beauty. It was a morning well spent.

 

A morning’s Tale-2

Yipee!! Yahoooo! Yabadabadooo!

That seems a bit over the top but that’s exactly how I’m feeling. As I wrote in the first part of this post- A morning’s Tale– I was looking for a suitable place for my morning jogs. I think God also visits WordPress because it seems as if my prayers have been answered. I have found the perfect place for jogging. In fact, it was there, right before my eyes but I don’t know how it escaped my notice. Only when my friend reminded me about it that the bulb in my brain lit up.

The place is the Sabarmati Riverfront. Currently a major project of the Government of Gujarat. The banks of Sabarmati river are being developed into a tourist attraction place. The walkways are ready, and hopefully, soon there will be parks, water-sports, hotels, floating restaurants etc. at different points of the riverfront. The walkway area is very close to where we live and we can easily walk down to it. The walk becomes the warm up for the jog to follow. Some pictures here-

        the walkway

 

     The Sabarmati River

 

 

Mahatma Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram with steps on the right side leading to the river

 

    waterworks tower

 

 

  The road bridge in the foreground and the rail bridge with a train passing on it in the background

 

the river

Jogging here in the mornings refreshes me thoroughly. In fact, I no longer have to bother about my problem. Who needs artificial music when you can hear the sounds of nature in the calls of the birds. That’s music enough for me.

Now I jump out of the bed in the mornings, and don’t make excuses to avoid my jogs but really look forward to them. Hope I will be able to see some good results soon. Cross my fingers.

 

 

 

 

Acknowledgements

Hi everyone. I’d been planning to do another post but I realized that I needed to do something else that was long overdue. And that is – A Big Thank You’ to all who’ve visited my blog.

When I began blogging I was a clumsy user of technology. (I still consider myself somewhat challenged in that department.) And so some of the likes and comments on my earlier posts went unacknowledged. I tried to visit the sites of the people to express my gratitude but would land up elsewhere and would finally give up in frustration. I take this opportunity to apologize and to thank them all.

I also want to thank all who are following my blog. It really feels good to be read and appreciated and I try to reciprocate the gesture as much as I can. Sometimes I may slip up or may be delayed due to lack of time but I want you all to know that I’m ever so thankful to you all for your support.

And lastly I also want to thank everyone who read my posts, like them and put in their comments. I appreciate the time you take out from your busy schedules to go through my posts and share your views.

All I can ask for now, from all you beautiful bloggers out there, is your support and love. Once again a BIG thank you.

Cheerios!!!!